Christmas present prompted author’s first novel

Tom Lawrence was given the voucher by his wife, Maria. Picture: contributed
Tom Lawrence was given the voucher by his wife, Maria. Picture: contributed
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AN upcoming city author has revealed his joy that his debut novel is to be published – thanks to an inspired Christmas gift from his wife.

Last Christmas, Tom Lawrence, 48, from West End, was bought a gift voucher for a writers’ workshop by his wife Maria – and now his book is to be released by a leading publishing house in August.

Entitled Smiling the Moon, the fantasy novel had been gathering dust until he attended the weekend workshop run by Hay House.

A hypnotherapist and acupuncturist by day, he is now working on book number two and is ever grateful that Maria decided against a pair of socks or a tie.

He said: “Maria is an artist herself so she understands the need for inspiration. It’s easily the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received. I had written most of the book back in 2009 but then didn’t really do anything with it,” he said. “When we began seeing each other, she was based in Barcelona and I was in Scotland so I began mailing her a chapter each week, she always gave me great feedback.”

“The workshop helped me in lots of ways especially in refining my skills. What I really gained was that you should write for what you can give people. For instance putting in that little extra effort to make it right. I returned inspired and began expanding and refining the book.”

In total 200 writers attended the workshop, with just six being shortlisted for a writing competition to win a publishing deal with Hay House and a £2500 advance – the eventual winner being Tom.

His partner, Maria Gibert, 49, said she had been thrilled when he told her the news about the book deal.

“On a dark autumn afternoon as I walked home, my phone rang and he whispered ‘They are going to publish it’.

“My heart jumped and I did a little dance on George Street. We went for supper to celebrate and he told me that it was an inspired Christmas present.

“Now I’m wondering what I can possibly give him for Christmas this year.”

Smiling the Moon is billed as a work of allegorical fiction in the vein of bestsellers such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho.

The story centres on two travellers, a boy Geeter, who is running from the death of his father and a shamen named Wode, who has his own need of regeneration after the death of his wife.

The shared journey then reveals a fable about bonding, enchantment and apprenticeship: a story that gently introduces spiritual ideas that are philosophical and magical.